Hadlow Down Book Club Review


Lancaster author Carys Davies photographed by Jonathan Bean

West  (2018)

‘The dizzying weight of the earth and everything in it and beyond it’

In contrast to our last read, the long novel Middlesex, this month we read the novella West, the first novel by an award winning short story  writer and poet, Carys Davies. Although slim, the book deals with big, some say, mythic themes., exploring our relationship with the environment. Continue reading “Hadlow Down Book Club Review”

Horticultural Society Visit

On behalf of the Hadlow Down Horticultural Society:
Horticultural Society Reminder
May be an image of the Cotswolds and Eltz Castle
On Thursday June 15th we are visiting Sissinghurst., meeting for coffee in the Granary restaurant at 10.15. Why not come and join us and enjoy the profusion of roses, the leg
endary white garden and, above all, the wonderful Mediterranean inspired Delos garden. Tickets are £16 unless you are a National Trust member.
Contact Heather or one of the committee members if you need a lift.

Hadlow Down Book Club Reviews

Firefly Henry Porter 2018.

Firefly is a political spy thriller, set in the world of refugees fleeing from Syria and ISIS. Naji is a brilliant thirteen-year-old who escapes from a refugee camp in Greece and makes his way across Europe with information vital to ISIS. He is pursued by a ruthless ISIS gang but also by a British agent, working for MI5 who want the same information.
The flight is beset by dangers which Naji uses his wits to evade. He encounters cruelty and suffering but also kindness and generosity, often from those who have little to give.
Henry Porter is a journalist. His novel is well-researched and shows his first-hand knowledge of the subject. He brings conditions in the refugee camp vividly to life as well as the dangers and suffering involved by those fleeing and the bureaucratic difficulties they face.
The novel is certainly a good page-turner but it is also a thought provoking book, very relevant at the moment –‘ a glimpse with a terrifying and random world in which there are few happy endings.’ (Guardian)


Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides (2002)

Our next novel was a complete contrast – a family saga covering three generations of a Greek family, who flee from a tiny village in Asia Minor to prohibition-era Detroit, escaping from the Turks’ brutal invasion of Smyrna.
The novel tells the story of its narrator, Calliope Stephanides who has an intersex condition known as 5-alpha reduction deficiency so that she is born a girl but is realized to be biologically male at puberty and becomes ‘Cal’. This syndrome results from a recessive genetic mutation occurring only among inbred populations and the novel uncovers the family secret that caused it.
As an omniscient narrator Cal tells the story of past generations and then her own life, spanning nearly eight decades. Partly based on Eugenides’ own family history we learn of the experiences of Graeco-Americans in turbulent times in the United States – prohibition, race riots, Malcolm X and the Islamic movement.
When he becomes a boy, Cal moves away to San Francisco, and after mishaps along the road and sleeping rough, finds work in a peep show that displays people with ambiguous gender. Eventually he returns home for his Father’s funeral where his Grandmother confesses to the incestuous relationship that led to the gene that was passed to Cal and Cal determines to live a good life, eventually moving to Berlin where he  starts a relationship with a woman
This is a dense novel which took the author 9 years to complete.  However, he writes with a light touch and the novel is both funny and poignant with a touch of magic realism. Although some of the group felt there was too much detail, the majority of us enjoyed it and felt we had learnt a lot.

Next book ‘West’ by Carys Davies

Hadlow Down Drama & Variety Club Meeting

From the chair of HDD&VC:
I am delighted to be able to give you more exciting information about our next HDD&VC meeting on the 15th. May, which is at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.
We will be showing the wonderful film ‘The History Boys’ (rated 18). The History Boys is a 2006 British comedy-drama film adapted by Alan Bennet from his play of the same name  which won the 2005 Olivier Award for Best New Play and the 2006 Tony Award for Best Play.
A select number of boys, who managed to achieve grades which merit an application to Oxford or Cambridge in their A-Levels, experience a term of revelation at their grammar school as they are tutored for the “most important exam of their lives” in history.
On the evening we will be serving Wine and Cheese for you to enjoy whilst watching the film. There will be one glass of wine for everyone to enjoy, free of charge, and a selection of cheeses to go with it.
We want to make sure we cater for everyone so please let us know if you intend to come by emailing ellis.boswell@btinternet.com or ringing 07506889724. Do feel free to bring friends and family.
We are looking forward to seeing you all in May.
All the best,

The Big Help Out

To mark His Majesty The King’s Coronation, thousands of organisations across the country are getting together to give us all a chance to help out in our own communities.
Starting on Monday 8th. May there will be opportunities for everyone to join in.  No matter what you are good at, there’ll be something to suit helping hands of all shapes and sizes!  From checking in on someone who’d like a bit of company or volunteering for a charity the more of us who join in, the bigger help we will be.
If you can spare an hour …fantastic.  A day…amazing.  If it becomes a regular thing, so much the better.  If we all do a bit, it will really help a lot.
Help us to do something amazing, join in, lend a hand, make a change.
As well as those numerous national charities etc. who are involved in the Big Help Out to date all of the following village clubs, societies and organisations have indicated that they will warmly welcome new volunteers.  The details of kind of help, time, contacts, benefits and other information need much more room than is available on our Village Magazine page or the Hadow Down Web Site News page or the Facebook Group page so we have created a PDF document that will be stored as a file for anyone to access at any times by just going to:
The Big Help Out PDF Form Master

The list will be updated regularly but so far includes:

H D Macmillan Big Coffee Morning
The Hadlow Down Village Magazine
The Hadlow Down Litter Picking Group
The Hadlow Down Neighbourhood Watch
The TN22 Club
The H D Children in Need Group
The Hadlow Down Drama & Variety Club
The Hadlow Down Village Trust
The TN22 Plus Club
The Hadlow Down Playing Field
The Hadlow Down Gardening Club
The Hadlow Down Village Facebook Group
The KIt Wilson Trust
Hadlow Down Online – Village Web Site
Wilderness Wood
The Hadlow Down Village Hall
H D Comic Relief Red Nose Group

Other Clubs and Organisations have contacted us to ask that although they currently need no working volunteers they would always warmly welcome new members to the clubs & societies etc. to share in their activities. They are: Hadlow Down Book Club; The Hadlow Down Horticultural Society!

HDD&VC AGM Minutes 2023

Minutes of the Hadlow Down Variety Club Annual General Meeting
Monday 13th March 2023 at 7:55pm
at Hadlow Down Village Hall
Present: Ann Zenka (Chairperson), Julie Twigg (Treasurer and Secretary), Dwayne Zenka (committee), Glenys Lake (committee), Jeannette Boswell (committee), Ellis Boswell (minutes), Bob Lake, Janet Tourell, Wendy Coleman, Claire Rivers, Sandi Houlahan, Joan Wiltshire, Jo Dummer, Brenda Johnson, Kathy Cracknell, Clara Thompson
Apologies: John Thompson, John Rivers, Owen Coleman, Peter Smyth, Roberta Smyth
Chairperson welcomes everyone
Meeting begins 7:55pm
• AGM minutes dated 14th March 2022 are read, accepted and seconded by Bob and Janet.
• Ann gives her report as Chairperson, detailing the work done by the committee over the previous three years, as well as the work from those club members who have gone above and beyond. A warm thanks is given to Jo for always being such a generous host.
• Julie gives her report as Treasurer, showing the entire club a summary of all income and expenses over the previous three years. A warm thanks is given to Julie for her dedication. The report is read, accepted and seconded by Jeannette and Bob.
• The Chairperson’s report, Treasurer’s report and the club constitution is made available to all members to look at during the break.
• Julie reveals that she received a highly critical email from an ex-member of the club, showing the hypocrisy of the lack of involvement.
The Ballots
• Bob asks who will make decisions for the club’s belongings if all the committee members step down.
o The current committee would hold an extra-ordinary meeting to deal with everything before stepping down, should no one else step in, as according to the club’s constitution.
o Claire points out that a new group of people being the committee for the first time wouldn’t know what they were doing.
• The club is made aware that at least four of the present committee members would be intending to stepping down
• Bob brings up the costs of the new village hall and the plans to build a stage in the hopes that there would either be the existing club to use it or a new club following the closure of the current one. He asks about the future of the money currently held in the club’s account, should the club fold.
o The constitution states that money held in the account at time of closing should be donated to projects furthering dramatic arts in and around the community.
• The contents of the village hall belonging to the Variety Club is bought up. Julie and Ann assures everyone that they have been catalogued for insurance purposes, so will be easy enough to deal with should the club fold.
Break for tea and the ballots is held at 8:45pm
• Votes are counted and verified three times, with a miscount due to a misunderstanding between the two separate slips.
• The vote results are announced 9:17pm. 9 votes for keeping the club running, 9 against. Without a clear result for closing, the club stays open.
• 3 people put their names down for committee: Claire, Jeannette, and Ellis.
o Claire stands for Chairperson.
o Julie says that she will approach those that couldn’t make the evening to see if they would like to join the committee.
o Ann, Dwayne, Julie and Glenys express their desire to stay on the committee in interim roles, with Glenys only wanting to stay as long as it will take to ease the transition between the old committee and the new.
o Jo asks what will happen if no one steps forward for either Treasurer or Secretary. Julie assures everyone that she will stay as an interim until a new Treasurer can be found, but is concerned that she will be stuck in the position.
• Claire suggests changing the role of the club to a more social format and dropping future performances.
• Ann recommends that the account be put on hold until the future of the club is clearer.
• Joan gives a speech about her pride in the club, the people that have been lost and sadly missed along the way, and the amount that the club has helped the community over the years. She gives her thanks to the current committee and those that have previously served.
o Janet suggests that the speech (or something similar) could be posted in the Parish Magazine and Facebook to bring awareness to the club.
Meeting is closed at 9:40pm
Claire and the committee stay behind to discuss the next steps
• Claire offers to work on the club’s social media profile to draw more awareness.
• Bob tells the committee that the HDCC will be distributing surveys door-to-door and offers to post flyers for the Variety Club with them, if we wanted to make some up.
Committee leaves at 9:50pm

Allotments Available to Hadlow Down Residents

Ever thought about renting an allotment? In these days of rising food prices and the focus on physical and mental health, growing your own fruit and vegetables has never seemed more important. Buxted Parish Council have some plots available which they are happy to rent to residents of Hadlow Down. The plots vary in size and can, in some circumstances, be tailored to satisfy the ambitions or limitations of the individual.

If you are interested, please contact Rosemary at debollaofbuxted@btinternet.com. You can find out more by visiting the Buxted Parish Council website www.buxtedparishcouncil.gov.uk. Information about the allotments can be found under the Amenities drop down menu.

A New Start For The Hadlow Down Drama & Variety Club

We are pleased to let you know that at our recent AGM it was decided to continue with our Society and to see if we can attract new members with some different approaches. In a village community, it is so important to keep opportunities open for people to connect, and this is what the committee is keen to do. If you want more information about HDD&VC do ring me on 07506889724 or email claire.rivers61@gmail.com, new members are always welcome.
We have booked the Village Hall for a monthly meeting at which we will have different activities for members to enjoy. The dates are as follows so please put them in your diaries:
17th April, 2023 7.30pm An evening of mime and improvisation- no experience needed, just a good sense of humour!!
15th May, 2023 7.30pm
19th June, 2023 7.30pm
17th July, 2023 7.30pm
We have left the three latter dates open as we would like to run our ideas past members at the first meeting, but the things we have been considering are: the showing of a play; a session with a storyteller looking at storytelling techniques; theatre/cinema visits; and play readings.
We are also exploring the possibility of joining NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association), which has a number of benefits, including plays, musicals and pantos that members can use, a regional website to link people to local societies and training opportunities.
Another plan, is to record some bedtime stories for children, some of which may be a video, and others audio. We would place these on a site, such as, Youtube, for parents/carers/children to access. We would also open up the opportunity to record a story to non-members of the Society. We know there are members, and potential members, that have a fear of word learning and it would be a fun, and inclusive activity, to record a series of radio style plays/’book at bedtime’ that the village community, and beyond, could access.
Social media is well-used by so many people that we intend to keep our facebook page up-to-date and to make sure we have a presence on the village website as well.
As always, the views of members are so welcome, our philosophy is ‘the more the merrier’, so do please let us know of any ideas you may have and items to include on the website.
We look forward to seeing you on the 17th April at 7.30pm and hope that, meanwhile, you have a Happy and Peaceful Easter.
Kind regards,